Tea has attracted global attention for its beneficial health effects such as reducing inflammation and helping fight cancer. It has also been associated with the expression of the FOXO3A, dubbed the “longevity gene” because it is more prominent in centenarians. By preventing cell damage, researchers have found that the consumption of green tea may reduce mortality risk by up to 82% for some people.
FOXO3 is a key player in the control of skeletal muscle proteins and is a critical regulator of protein synthesis and degradation in the muscle.
It is believed to have a strong impact on ageing and age-related phenotypes as it regulates the stress response, which in turn affects lifespan.
Science Direct explains: “A significant association has been shown between longevity and several variations of the FOXO3 gene.”
This observation is backed by several studies probing the association between green tea consumption and mortality from all causes among elderly people.
READ MORE: Mushrooms linked to 35% lower risk of death from all causes
As a whole, these large cohort studies and meta-analyses have yielded varying results.
One thing they have in common, however, is that they all found significant reductions in all-cause mortality among habitual green tea users.
More specifically, one of the studies published in JAMA in 2006, showed that individuals who consumed the largest amounts of green tea reduced their cardiovascular risk by as much as 82 percent.
The findings showed that those who drank at least five cups of green tea per day were 76 percent less likely to die compared to those who didn’t.
A meta-analysis published by the health body highlights that many studies have found a link between EGCG and reduced cancer incidence.
The authors explained: “We observed a significant increase in mean latency to the first tumour, an approximate 70 percent decrease in tumour burden, and an 87 percent reduction in the number of invasive tumours per tumour-bearing animals in […] rat groups drinking green tea.
“Similar protection has been seen in other animal models of cancer, including those of the prostate, skin and lung.”
Elsewhere, the report states that evidence was found in ECGC treatment “inducing the expression of FOXO3A” and its target gene.
This evidence indicates that FOXO3A may act both as a tumour suppressor in cancer and reduce the risk of death from all causes.
Doctor Bradley Willcox, the principal investigator of the National Institute on Ageing-funded Kuakini Hawaii Lifespan Study, has previously listed several foods that may help activate the longevity gene.
According to the expert, these may include sweet potatoes, turmeric, and marine-based carotenoid-rich foods like seaweed and kelp.
Aside from ECGC, vegetables rich in the marine photoactive compound astaxanthin have also been shown to express this gene.